Ilocos is as lush with greenery as it is with strange alien-like rock formations and sapphire-blue seas. Proof of the botanical beauty of the province is the trek to Kabigan Falls. The trek was fairly easy, more like a walk in the park, amidst changing sceneries: from idyllic farmland to a gurgling stream, to a Silent Hill-worthy passageway, then a Forbidden Forest-inspired, well, forest. The trek was very enjoyable and didn’t tire me out. The walk to the falls was rewarding as I witnessed a majestic falls that extended up to the sky. Frankly, my awe was a result of not having been to a falls, and I was tempted to rip off my clothes and jump into the cold water.
An Incident of Huge Proportions happened to me in Kabigan Falls. I noticed a rock formation that I wanted to take pictures of with Nikko. I don’t really remember how it happened, but I slipped on some of the rocks and came crashing down, banging my knees and arms on the craggy rocks. I had some deep gashes on my right knee and arm, plus the indignity of having fallen in front of many groups. But as any supermodel would know, when you fall on the runway, you get up, strike a cute pose, and keep on walking. I disinfected the wounds and kept on trucking.
Because of the trauma of falling in Kabigan Falls, I was not able to savor the experience of going up Bantay Abot Cave. By then, I had changed from my rubber-soled XOXO sneakers to flip-flops, and the high tide, plus the slippery fit of my brother’s flops freaked me out as I made my way toward the cave. It was a rocky walk, and I had terrible visions of falling again and a rock going through my skin. And there was the almost vertical climb to the cave itself, and I decided to skip it. I didn’t want to risk slipping and rolling to my death in the most undignified way, so I went back. I made the wise decision of walking barefoot to get a better grip. The high tide and those rocks really scared me.
Coincidentally, one of the stopovers on my Ilocos trip was the Paraiso ni Anton, which locals say contains miraculous water. I ended up pouring a generous amount on my wounds, and though it relieved me for a while, it did not heal as fast as I hoped (I expected a miraculous recovery). Legend has it that you have to drink the water from the topmost source, but studies conducted by the DENR Regional Office and MENRO-LGU in 2011 states that the water is not potable.
But what was the most interesting, while we’re on the subject of water, is the Patapat Viaduct, the country’s 4th longest bridge. Now, there’s nothing interesting with the 4th of anything, but the Viaduct is the best place to view the Pasaleng Bay, a gorgeous body of water that is the most perfect shade of blue that it made me weep. It reminded me of the Aegean Sea, the sublime sea across the fabled Santorini island in Greece.
By then, I had already forgotten about my wounds. I think I just experienced a natural form of Stendhal Syndrome.